Nielsen Reports Print Book Sales in Decline

In Frankfurt 2011 by Andrew Wilkins

By Andrew Wilkins

TOC logo

Print book sales continued to decline in 2010 across several major book markets and macroeconomic conditions would get worse before they got better, according to Nielsen Book sales data presented at Tools of Change Frankfurt on Tuesday.

The Republic of Ireland showed the largest single year drop at 8.7%, followed by the UK (6.1%), the US (5.7%), Spain (2.3%) and Denmark (0.5%). Only Italy showed modest growth at plus 0.6%, perhaps, suggested Nielsen Book’s Jonathan Nowell, because e-books had yet to catch on there. Fiction was the category most in decline in print across all markets, followed by children’s books.

For those looking to head to the bar and drown their sorrows, Nowell had at least some positive thoughts: no downturn lasts forever, “value” was going to be an increased priority for consumers, and the rapidly aging population should present publishers with opportunities to sell to “those book-loving baby boomers who finally have the time to read.” Let’s hope they don’t forget where they put their glasses.

About the Author

Andrew Wilkins

Andrew Wilkins is the director of Wilkins Farago, an independent, Melbourne-based book publisher. Until 2008, he was publisher of Australia's book industry magazine, Bookseller+Publisher. He travels regularly throughout the Asia-Pacific region.